Month: October 2015

BigCommerce Announces New Stencil Theme Engine

BigCommerce recently announced their latest upgrade: a templating engine which powers stores built on their ecommerce platform — and store owners should be thrilled. This upgrade, named Stencil, opens the door for all sorts of new opportunities for their stores. The level of flexibility and power for your BigCommerce store is going to be drastically improved.


What is Stencil?

Stencil is the framework or template engine behind your BigCommerce store. This is what takes your data and settings and brings them to life in a functional ecommerce website. While the existing template engine was fairly flexible compared to many other platforms, it was due for an overhaul to allow stores to improve their storefronts. Introducing: Stencil.


Stencil is far more than an HTML template with shortcodes. It is a dynamic framework that leverages several modern technologies to create a powerful and flexible website. Stencil builds on the flexible Handlebars.js template system that uses javascript to compile the page together with YAML front matter, making data points available as templates are compiled. SASS/ SCSS will allow you to more rapidly push styling changes across the store. The combination of these technologies and other enhancements that BigCommerce has added on top of it all will create a powerful development environment that will allow for great customization.


What are some of Stencil’s Top Features?

While it is early on, some of the initial features of Stencil that really stand out are:

  • Greater customization and flexibility in terms of store design
  • Conditional templating (i.e., if a customer belongs to Group A, show this)
  • Faster customized page speed (due to the fact that much of store customization will now be handled by servers instead of browsers)
  • Local theme testing


What does Stencil mean for BigCommerce Stores?

Technical improvements aside, Stencil could make a big impact on stores. Here are a few of the things we are excited about:

  • Engage customers better
  • Tailor your store to your unique context
  • Offer more flexible, dynamic experiences to visitors
  • Implement custom functionality that does not slow the page load
  • Experiment more freely on how to improve conversion rates


Over the coming weeks we will break down the different technologies behind Stencil, outline what these mean for your store beyond having to upgrade your theme coding, dream with you about the possibilities for better user experience and conversions, and discuss how to take advantage of it all. Stay tuned.

Feel free to check out our BigCommerce Stencil Theme Engine page to discover more about how you can implement and customize this exciting new technology.

BigCommerce Stencil Theme Engine Conversion & Customization

BigCommerce’s Stencil Theme Engine is Here!


The new templating engine – called Stencil – from BigCommerce has arrived. The long-awaited update opens up all sorts of opportunities for flexible, highly customized store templates.

Benefits of Stencil Theme Customization

  • Increased template power
  • Flexibility to better engage customers
  • Improved page speed for customization


BigCommerce Stencil Theme Features

  • Greater flexibility & opportunities for customization
  • Backend, server-side processing of template for improved speed
  • Logic based, conditional page elements (i.e., if customer group is X, then Y)
  • Test theme changes across various devices on a local computer prior to launch


Stencil Template Technologies

The BigCommerce Stencil theme engine is built on the following technologies:

  • Handlebars.js template processor – allows for dynamic & conditional logic based template page creation
  • YAML Front Matter Data Syntax – provides page data on an as needed basis for dynamic use & insertion into templates
  • SASS CSS Preprocessor Scripting Language – makes it easier to manage your CSS
  • Stencil Utilities – offers templating functions and event handlers that will bring powerful functionality into your theme


Stencil Theme Resources

BigCommerce Stencil Theme Engine Announcement

Customize a Stencil Theme

Need help converting to Stencil? Contact us to get started.